`This is a pointless hair-splitting sophistry. The A9 …

Comment posted Economic development strategy for the west Highlands by newsroom.

`This is a pointless hair-splitting sophistry.

The A9 is the continuation of the M90 to Perth and runs through to Inverness, an east coast city on the other side of the Cairngorms which are eastern mountains.
Shortly after that, it then carries up the edge of the north east coast to Latheron where it cuts across the edge of the flow to Thurso.

The core issue here is that the A9 has nothing to do with the west and does not serve it.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Council Leader reshuffles the pack
    And Fergus Murray has no specialist expertise in economic development.
    He happened, as an experienced senior planner, to have expertise more adjacent to economic development than anyone else in the council.
    Argyll in an area where sustainable economic growth is the single – and challenging – determinant of our survivability.
    Yet this hopelessly unfocused council thought it was fine to appoint a waste management specialist as Executive Director for Economic Development and what what used to be Strategic Infrastructure – who had experience of neither.
    And while Fergus Murray runs himself ragged as the plate-spinner extraordinaire of Kilmory, the Executive Director for Economic Development and Infrastructure spends her time making plans to combat the rate of employee absences due to sickness.
    This cannot be part of the brief Sandy McTaggart, her predecessor, fulfilled. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the economic and infrastructural development Argyll desperately needs.
    This sort of issue would normally be handled by the HR Manager and the CEO, but they may have less time on their hands.
  • Appeal for local knowledge from Kintyre
    We were wondering the same thing.
    It’s so mysterious.
    The Merchant OF Three Pedlars.
    Why ‘OF’?
    Would a merchant have supplied pedlars?
  • Tactical voting in Argyll and Bute: Alan Reid the most likely pro-union consensus candidate
    You could not be more accurate in identifying the Holy Loch and hinterland area in Cowal as an example of single-cause crash decline from which it has never recovered.
    The Trident argument apart, the damaging economic impact on Helensburgh and Lomond resulting from the closure or lesser role of the HMNB Clyde is unarguable.
  • Tactical voting in Argyll and Bute: Alan Reid the most likely pro-union consensus candidate
    On a point of information, For Argyll is on the record as saying that the Liberal Democrat position on Trident is hopelessly ill informed. We have shown the operational necessity for four submarines if Trident is retained. Anything less than four means that Trident is not actually a Continuously At Sea Deterrent [CASD] which makes it redundant as a potential first strike deterrent – if that action would ever be taken.
    But you miss the point:
    of the genuine crisis for democracy we are all looking at;
    of the operation of tactical voting itself;
    and of the analysis we have put forward which has led us to iddentify Alan Reid as the candidate around whom the pro-union vote can most comfortably coalesce.
    This is a much more basic situation than party policy.
    Those who cannot see above party policy or party affiliation will be part of the nexus that takes Scotland first to being a one-party-state and then to being an independent one-party-state.
    It actually makes no matter which unionist candidate is the subject of the tactical vote – only that all those voting tactically can put their pro-union votes in a common place.
    Otherwise, they simply split the unionist vote on a different axis.
    The point is which unionist candidate is most likely to be the acceptable focus of consensus – and we hold firmly to the result of the situation analysis that has led us to identify that candidate as being Alan Reid.
    Alistair Redman is a young man who is barely known across much of the vast territory of Argyll and Bute. He is therefore an unknown and untried candidate who will not be the natural or even the logical point of unionist coalescence at this critical time.
    Alan Reid has been the sitting MP for 14 years, he is a moderate centrist with wide recognisability across Argyll and its islands – because he has worked to maintain that recognisable presence as part of his job as a constituency MP.
    And unevolved as we think it is – and are saddened by – Labour is not large enough to be willing to vote for a Conservative candidate, although some may vote for a Liberal Democrat.
    Tactical voting is an extreme solution to extreme situations.
    We believe firmly and have shown just why Scotland today is in just such a situation.
    Those who cannot rise to the need of this occasion may condemn Scotland to a deepening divergence from democracy.
    We all have to hope that the level headed common sense of most people allows the recognition of a genuine emergency; and the willingness to take the only possible action to arrest it.
  • Tactical voting in Argyll and Bute: Alan Reid the most likely pro-union consensus candidate
    The Tactical Voting Wheel was created – as we have consistently made clear -by Scotland’s BIG Voice’s sophisticated predictive model. It has always been presented as a guidance and not as an instruction from anyone to anyone.
    It is up to pro-union local voters in each constituency to decide on local knowledge which unionist candidate is likely to come second to the SNP and vote for that candidate.
    For Argyll is telling no one how to vote.
    We are offering our straightforward analysis as to which of the unionist candidates is most likely to be the most effective gathering place for the pro-union vote in Argyll and Bute – and showing openly why we have come, by reason, to that conclusion.
    We are warning of the consequences of the one-party-state to which Scotland is headed at speed and which will defeat the democracy of which you speak and for which we care deeply.
    This country – with its state determination to drop the need for corroborating evidence to secure convictions; with its enforced appointment of State Guardians for all young people from birth to legal maturity; with its Police armed without even notification to the Scottish Parliament; with children subject to Police ‘Stop & Search’ routines which were supposed to have been stopped – - is not a democracy.
    We accept that the evangelised cannot see that. They never can. They are in anoher place, in a Scotland of the mind.
    But bad stuff can happen anywhere – not just ‘elsewhere’.
    Some it it – and the seed of more – is already here.
    Everyone who can still see what is happening and can understand the consequences of what is a fast developing situation, needs to do all they can to arrest it.
    The reality is that Scotland today is a division of two groups of people of broadly equal number who, with equal right and with equal purpose, are trying to take ‘their’ country back.
    The separatists are trying to take ‘their’ nationalist Scotland back from the England they feel stole it from ‘them’ over 300 years ago.
    The unionists are trying to take ‘their’ Scotland back from the nationalists who have effectively hijacked it in the last few years.
    If the country is broadly 50/50 on the separatist-unionist issue, this is exactly the picture one would expect to see – but it alienates any one 50% from the other 50%. One 50% is actively driving the situation, the other 50% has been in passive defence mode for several years now.
    What we are trying to do is to show those silent in the dugout that there is plenty of room to come out to play, plenty of reason to be proud of having an equally strategic intelligence, plenty of reason to put that to good use – and every reason to enjoy doing it.

powered by SEO Super Comments

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • SphereIt
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Print

35 Responses to `This is a pointless hair-splitting sophistry. The A9 …

  1. Apologies for the geography lesson but . . .

    The A9 is not the East Coast road – that is the M90/A90 from Edinburgh to the East Coastcities of Dundee and Aberdeen. The A9 serves Inverness and the central Highlands.

    Why on earth do we want a bridge to Kerrera? Surely the Oban relief road (now scrapped or postponed for 5 years) is a higher priority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • `This is a pointless hair-splitting sophistry.

      The A9 is the continuation of the M90 to Perth and runs through to Inverness, an east coast city on the other side of the Cairngorms which are eastern mountains.
      Shortly after that, it then carries up the edge of the north east coast to Latheron where it cuts across the edge of the flow to Thurso.

      The core issue here is that the A9 has nothing to do with the west and does not serve it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. But a bridge to the islands of Luing and Easdale would save the council hundreds of thousands of pounds and ensure their sustainability. Perhaps the same would apply to Kerrera.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Where are Argyll & Bute’s invisible men ? Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell MSP and Argyll resident Mike MacKenzie MSP
    It is past time this constituency had a local champion instesd of party stoogies as our representatives .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. The problem here is not national political will; it is failure over generations to have a strategy and lack of finance at present.

    A & B C has to mortgage it’s assets to build the roads , the tunnels and the bridges in a deal with national government to pay an instalment repayment plan.

    If we open up Argyll and Bute they become the Fynest part of but integral to the Central Belt.

    Thereafter the possibilities are Awesome

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The problem IS lack of political will .Your attempt to blame previous generations will not wash .
      Don’t you remember the tremendous improvements carried out on the Loch Lomond stretch of road in the mid to late 80s for example ?
      Sadly ,now we have politicians empire building at Holyrood with road improvements a low priority , although I note there appears to be unlimited funding for turning perfectly good road signs into scrap to replace them with ones where gaelic is the lead language .
      Also there are millions of pounds of taxpayers money being spent on community buyouts .
      Clearly these are political choices made in Edinburgh .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I for Ever: “road improvements a low priority”!!!! Get real (as younger, hipper people would say.
        M74 extension and upgrades; A9 upgrade; A77(M77) upgrades; Pulpit Rock tackled (at last); second Forth Road Bridge…. the list goes on. If anything the criticism against the Scottish Government (of all hues) is that it has been too eager to prioritise road improvements.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Careful, Doc, or some of the usual suspects will misinterpret your comments as arguing against spending real money on sorting out the Rest & Be Thankful. By the way, on Malcolm’s subject of Gaelification of road signs, has anyone noticed how a rather ambitious wind farm developer with designs on offshore Fife has chosen to call their proposed megadevelopment Neart na Gaoithe? When did Fife fishermen converse in Gaelic?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • All but the most blinkered will know that the road improvements you are claiming credit for on behalf of the administration in Edinburgh were conceived and largely executed before Salmond and co got their hands near the levers of power .
          As for the second Forth bridge crossing , we know most of the contracts eg for steel have gone outwith the country .
          This article is about the West Highlands and your intervention has only served to highlight the deplorable record of the SNP in our area . Clearly we will be better off staying in the UK along with Orkney and Shetland .

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Blinkered? Motes and Beams Ifor E. Note that i said of all hues. My point being that since devolution there has been considerable road building/improvement work in Scotland rather in contrast to your suggestion that road building ceased with the extinction of the Tory dinosaur.

            As to the West, Pulpit Rock was, last time I looked, in the West and very contemporary. The politicians are promising action on the Rest (and we will hold them to account on that).

            It must be a very disappointing world you live in IforE – nobody voting the way you want them to (in Scotland at least), 5 years of SNP government and still the sky hasn’t fallen. I genuinely pity you.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Newsroom: “making the A83 a secure access to Argyll and the Isles”. The A83 will not take you to any isle, you need a ferry.

      Billions are being spent on the Forth road Bridge, you say another three billion is being spent on the A9 but what is happening on ferries?

      Comparatively paltry sums of money would revitalise the whole scottish Ferry fleet but as you said “There is no economic strategy whatsover for the development of the west” because, as you said “The current government has prioritised the east coast, with newly won constituencies in the major east coast cities to consider”.

      Ferry routes are the equivalent of motorways. Building wind turbine towers in Campbeltown currently makes little sense, do they have coal, steel, good transport links – no. With good sea transport maybe it would make sense.

      As for a bridge to Kerrera surely your mind is not closed to the possibilty of a tunnel which are so loved by our MSP and RW?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ferryman, the idea of a link to Kerrera would likely displease those inhabitants who prize the peace and quiet and lack of traffic – and development – there, but when you look at the physical constraints on the further development of Oban there’s a case to be made for ‘opening up’ Kerrera.
        There wouldn’t seem to be the same case for a tunnel as can be made between Dunoon and Gourock, unless the road approach on the Oban side would be better by tunnel, and surely a vehicle ferry like the one between Lerwick and Bressay would be adequate initially, unless development happened very fast. In the longer term a bridge might be justified, and there’d be unlikely to be the same row as has developed in Shetland, where the Lerwick harbour authority prefer a tunnel to a bridge to preserve the freedom of passage of tall oil & gas structures through the ‘north mouth’. As far as I know, nobody in Oban in their right mind envisages the need for that sort of traffic into the harbour.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • There is a case for a tunnel between Gourock and Dunoon is there. What would that be then, do you have some costs and estimates of usage?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • No, but if I had the money to buy you an educational tour of coastal Norway you might get to understand why it’s an option worth thorough investigation, rather than continuing to exercise a closed mind and – dare I say it – tunnel vision.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • RW our politicians and civil servants are not capable of introducing a passenger ferry service. Once they demonstrate some ability with small projects they might be fit to do something bigger, personally I am not going to hold my breath so I have no interest in extremely expensive bridges and tunnels.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • RW: The SNP government did not invest what £20M for the two vehicle ferries they promised for the Dunoon Gourock route, they then failed dismally to implement a passenger service.

            If the government will not invest that amount then it is not being closed minded to understand they are not going to spend billions on a tunnel. To think otherwise is just a fantasy. Has our MSP Mike Russel got any further with his vision, when do you expect he will?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Average Norwegian tunnel costs are around 3 million euros per kilometre lane. If you consider the ferry cost over the Clyde then it wouldn’t take long to pay it back with an eqivalent charge, but much more itopens up Cowal and Bute as well

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • So is Mike Russell putting a tunnel under the Firth of Clyde forward then as Government policy? It was his idea and he is a Cabinet Minister, when can we expect an announcement, what is the target date for the opening ceremony – a tunnel would be beyond my wildest dreams, or is that what it is a daydream.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. I’d certainly like to see a bit more info about the quoted price per kilometre lane for a tunnel as this figure seems absurdly cheap. What exactly is taken into account in this quoted figure? Capital expenditiure? Land purchase costs? New road construction cost? Disruption costs? Planning costs? Building and ventilation costs at each end? Etc, etc.

    And of course tunnels do require regular maintenance and upgrading. For example the Clyde tunnel had a an upgrade between March 2005 and 2007 at a cost of £12 million (almost as much as the original cap-ex). The Clyde tunnel has two tunnels each 762 metres (2,500 feet) long and the width of the river at this point is 123 metres. The Clyde tunnel is therefore approximatley six times the width of the river.

    The depth of the tunnel is of course governed by the depth of the water above it. It might be one thing to drill down below the Clyde for the short and relatively shallow tunnel in the upper reaches of the Clyde – quite another to drill down below the much wider and deeper Clyde at say the shortest crossing at the Gantock/Cloch.

    In fact the more you think aobut it (in order to avoid a very steep gradient what length would the tunnels have to be?? ) the more and more it sounds like a pipe-dream – much like the stupid idea of the second top priority for west coast development being a bridge to Kerrera.

    Either that or an attempt by a politician to fly a kite and deflect from his own Party’s broken promises.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • You dismiss it too easily Simon – it would be likely that on both sides a tunnel would extend a considerable way under land to achieve main road connections without major demolition and damage to the local communities – and to achieve acceptable gradients. The maximum depth of the Clyde between Dunoon and the Cloch seems to be around 50 fathoms, which – at say 92 metres – is quite deep but in Norway there’s a main road undersea tunnel dipping to 250 metres, so it’s clearly feasible.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. “You dismiss it too easily Simon” Gimmie peace Robert. Let’s get some realsim in here. Most things are feasible – but only at a cost and as a rule oif thumb tunnels cost more than bridges.

    But accepting your figure for depth I would say without hesitation that if you think for one moment you could build a tunnel 92 metres down (300ft) which you laughingly describe as “quite deep” under the Clyde for a price of 3 million euros per kilometre lane you are indeed truly off your trolley.

    And, if anyone out there can be bothered to run this earth – if a 6% gradient in a tunnel (same as the Clyde) is acceptable – how far would you need to extend a tunnel with a depth of 300ft to achieve a 6% gradient? By my ‘off-the-top=-of-my-head-which-seems-to-be-the-same-place-as-Robert-got-his-costings-from – my reckoning the Greenock-Dunoon tunnel would start at Port Glasgow and surface in Argyll around the Tarsan Dam. Which might kinda defeat the purpose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Do your homework Simon, control your bile, and in your rush to sneer don’t start attributing the costings to the wrong person.
      Read up about Norwegian tunnels for the good of your education – I’m sure there’s plenty of info on the net, and there’s definitely a video of their first subsea tunnel, at Vardo, which goes down 88m. Yes the gradients can be steeper than those in the existing Clyde tunnel, but they’re designed to be manageable for all vehicles.
      I don’t bad-mouth you for what others have said.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Ooops Sorry Robert. If your water depth figure of 300 ft is correct you then have to go some way below that to acually construct your tunnel. And you also have the actual height of the tunnel itself to take into account. Probalby looking at bottom of tunnel depth* of between 350 – 400ft.

    *Taking this new depth into account the revised entrance for the Gourock- Dunoon tunnel is now nearer Bishopton than Port Glasgow and it now emerges around the head of Loch Striven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I don’t think the engineering is really a problem. The Japanese have a much deeper sub sea railway tunnel (The Seikan Tunnel at 250m). The real constraints would be finance against the social benefit costs of the tunnel). The main impetus for the Japanese tunnel was safety: too many ferries were sinking in typhoons. Mind you, I would be a bit alarmed to be in the tunnel during an earthquake!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • The practicality of building tunnels will depend on the water depth and the type of rock. Are there not fault lines around here?

        These are major construction projects, the £3m/km quoted seems way, way to low.

        The Norwegian tunnels have a payback period of 15 years, paid by tolls. The public pay 40% and the government pays the remaining 60%. The amount the public have to pay per crossing is roughly 20% ABOVE the ferry price.

        So big investment, high costs, long time periods – but you end up with important infrastructure.

        Our politicians and civil servants are just not up to the job. Mike Russell MSP just floated the idea to distract attention from his problems with the Dunoon Ferry and the A83.

        Info on tunnels:
        http://www.ita-aites.org/fileadmin/filemounts/e-news/doc/ITANews11/TUST_OS_2005_nordic.pdf

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Whatever you think of Mike Russell, Ferryman, it’s twisting things to retreat from your stance that anyone mentioning tunnels is a raving loony – but then conjure up a reason to still condemn Mike Russell for mentioning them.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • If you read one of my earlier posts I said I would be delighted if a tunnel was put in. However I am a realist not a fantasist. The did not manage to put in a simple reliable passenger ferry.

            Our MSP’s vision was of trains going under the sea to Ireland. Cloud cuckoo land. Either he was trying to divert attention or he was writing his blog late at night when perhaps its best not to write blogs.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Robert. Please accept my unreserved apologies. I was completely wrong and you are correct. The figures did not come from you, they came from Graeme.

    That said – I would agree with “doc” the costs of such a tunnel would appear to be prohibitive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Good thing you’ve yet to spot my plan for extending the railway from Gourock to Lochgilphead, but on further thought I wonder if a modest tax on increased real estate values wouldn’t go a considerable way to paying for this, or a road tunnel to Dunoon.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.